Earlier this month, we had the pleasure of supporting a Sponsorship Education Seminar for female high school students, on the path to becoming elite athletes. The event gave all high school attendees the opportunity to go into a draw to win a $500 scholarship to go towards their own sporting careers; as well as the invaluable opportunity to speak to three amazing elite athletes.
We invited elite athletes Sam Poolman, Katie Ebzery and Amy Harrison to share what they have learnt and what they are still learning in the world of sport.
Our Chief Marketer, Holly Martin, was the event MC and opened the event by stating that it is not fair that there is a disparity when it comes to female and male athletes’ remuneration. She cited the recent issue when a Billabong Junior Pro Series image went viral, as it showed the male winner receiving double the prize money of the female competitor.
After introducing each athlete and providing a quick overview of their impressive careers, the three athletes share their stories and experiences as athletes; what they have had to overcome, the relationships they have built and their greatest achievements in their sporting careers so far.
Each athlete had a different story to tell and the audience was absolutely captivated by everything they had to say. Sam shared the experiences that she has had due to sponsorship from Hawaiian Airlines, Katie told us about her inspiration as a young athlete and Amy opened up about her injuries and how she has pushed through them.
Question-time allowed the audience to find out a little bit more about what was important to them in terms of their personal sporting endeavours. Happy to answer their questions, Sam, Katie and Amy imparted their knowledge openly and sincerely.
The inspired high school female athletes and their families then got the opportunity to socialise and take photos with the athletes – a rare experience for anyone, including the event supporters.
To go into the draw for the $500 scholarship, we asked the attendees to tell us what the most valuable thing they learned from the seminar was. The range of responses indicates how successful the event was in teaching our local athletes about sponsorship.
As a team of marketers, the most valuable part for us was the message about personal brand – especially in relation to social media.
Hearing from the guest speakers, there was a range of social media approaches. Sam has a very open relationship with her fans through social media, while Amy and Katie prefer to keep their lives more private. But what is most important is how they conduct themselves – offline, as well as online.
How you present yourself on social media greatly impacts opportunities, especially sponsorship deals, and this is a big part of personal marketing.
If you are looking for a sponsor, make sure you consider what your personal brand is and what you are showing the world; it matters.